Berry beet

I haven’t been posting because I’ve been making. Jam. First tayberry (a black raspberry/loganberry cross, the loganberry itself  a red raspberry/blackberry cross) and then raspberry. This year I used half the amount of called-for sugar and no pectin—it seems counterproductive to add a packaged product to something homemade. I realized after the fact that I could make pectin, which helps the fruit and sugar to thicken and “set.” A recipe is here, from pickyourown.org.

Twelve cups of tayberries and six cups of sugar boiled (and boiled and boiled) down to just five pints of jam. I wasn’t so patient with the raspberries; 16 cups of raspberries and eight cups of sugar yielded eight pints, and the jam is going to be a bit runny (I’ll definitely add home-brewed pectin next time). However, the jam still spreads decently on toast and it’ll make an excellent sweetener for smoothies. And c’mon. It’s got half the amount of sugar.

The Twits and I prefer to eat blueberries whole rather than as a preserve, and so we have been bagging two cups at a time and then freezing. At left you can see our basic method for removing air from the freezer bags. We’ve managed to prepare 50 lb so far. We don’t cook with them in the winter; we just eat them, frozen, and let’em do their antioxidant magic on our brains. Blueberries truly are food for thought.

We’ve been feasting on Chioggia beets these days, too.These gloriously pink-and-white-striped root veggies tastes delicious raw. Here’s a recipe:

Pretty, Crunchy Salad
2 Chioggia beets, peeled and julienned
2 radishes, julienned
2 tablespoons each pumpkin seeds, sunflowers seeds and broken walnuts, toasted
2 stalks celery, sliced thinly
2 small cucumbers, sliced thinly
a small head of Romaine lettuce, ripped into bitable pieces

Dressing
¼ cup olive oil
¼ cup rice vinegar
1 tablespoon maple syrup

Place all salad ingredients in bowl. Toss with dressing. Serve.

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